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Home arrow newsitems arrow French Foreign Minister Fabius to Eurofora: For the Unity of Opposition in Syria

French Foreign Minister Fabius to Eurofora: For the Unity of Opposition in Syria

Written by ACM
Thursday, 18 April 2013
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- France is in favor of the Unification of all the democratic forces opposed to President Bashar Assas in Syria, said to "EuroFora" French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious, experienced former Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker, after expressing his regrets for the fact that, otherwise, and in the absence of a major change, the current situation doesn't seem to offer any other obvious Good solution in the foreseeable future, as things stand today.
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- "Yes, I Hope. I really do hope so !", stressed smiling Fabius in reply to "EuroFora"s question if he thought that there is any real possibility for the Syrian Opposition to be United, (as f.ex. it was done in Libya and other Arab a.o. Countries in the recent Past).


- A fortiori when "Syria was traditionally a United Country", as the French Minister observed already earlier in this regard, speaking at EU Parliament's Foreign affairs Committee.

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- Meanwhile, some Dissident circles represented also in Strasbourg circulated inside the EU Parliament ther refusal to consider the Unification of all the Syrian Opposition as a "Condition" for a decisive help from Western Countries, (despite the importance that Russia and others traditionaly give to this crucial point : See relevant, previous "EuroFora"s NewsReports). "Questions are always raised about the Reason for which the Syrian Opposition is not United" yet. "But, will the International Community remain always without doing nothing, while People are still killed in Syria, simply because it would be waiting for a Political Unification" among all Dissidents, they wondered, considering that it was today merely "Hypothetical"....


- To "EuroFora"s question on the Real Reasons for which, exceptionally, in Syria, the Unification of all 0pposants to Bashar Assad seems much more Difficult than in any other Country (Comp. Supra), a well informed American observer pointed mainly to the fact that  "the Kurdish Minority wants to have a Right to use the Kurdish Language" in the Area predominantly inhabited by Kurdish populations"; i.e. close to the Turkish border.


This fits with critical observations made recently on the sidelines of an EU Council in Brussels by a Syrian Kurdish Journalist to "EuroFora", who claimed, indeed, that Turkey's obstinated Refusal to admit any Cultural/Linguistic a.o. Autonomy of the Syrian Kurdish Minority, with the result to "Block" in practice the Opposition's Unification, merely because of Ankara's fear to have to face, sooner or later, to face a similar prospect inside its own territory, as it's currently also the case in Iraq, etc.


- In this regard, replying earlier to MEP's questions, the French Minister agreed that it seems to be some "Hopes" regarding Turkey's reported "Talks with the PKK" on the Kurdish issue.


Could EU Parliament's careful wording in favor of taking "Steps conducive to the Opening (in the EU - Turkey Negotiations) of the Chapter on Regional policy", (strongly Opposed by many MEPs of various Political Groups and from several EU Countries), - after new French Socialist President Hollande reportedly accepted after his Election, even if this wasn't really debated in Public during the 2012 Electoral campaign : See "EuroFora"s relevant Previous NewsReport dated February 20, from Paris- be, in fact, also an attempt to help broker a Regional Deal with Ankara over the Kurdish issue, which might contribute to find a solution in the Syrian conflict ? Otherwise, it would obviously be difficult to explain the real reason of such a concession to Ankara, since the Turkish Authorities have, instead of doing any progress on their obligations vis a vis EU's Standards, on the contrary, aggravated recently the Violations of Human Rights and the derogations to the detriment of Democratic principles, the Threats and/or intransigeance  vis a vis Neighbouring Countries Greece, Armenia, and Cyprus, etc., as many key MEPs critically denounced in a "hot"  EU Parliament's debate yesterday...

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 - "It's very Difficult not to be Pessimist" : "It's a horrible Tragedy", stressed earlier on the current situation in Syria, the experienced French Foreign Minister.


 - "I'm not optimist for the Future, because, if we try to continue what is going on until now, there is a Risk of Explosion, where the most Extremist elements take over : Iran regime's allies, from the side of Mr. Assad, and, from the side of Sunnites, (as he said), Al Quaida-linked forces, might counter-balance that, if the current situation is prolonged.  This could not only augment the number of persons killed, but also have serious Repercussions throughout all the neighbouring Region, f.ex. on Lebanon, Jordany, Iraq and even Turkey : This is a Major Danger, considering also the Chemical Weapons existing in Syria", he warned, (timely speaking the same day that US and Russian Media reported that the 2 Chechen Terrorists who killed innocent People in Boston, and were following developments in Syria, had lived in Turkey and even acquired a Turkish nationality)..

 - "So, the only "good" Solution would be a Political one. I.e. to change the situation on the ground, so that both sides accept to discuss between them. It's true that there are Different positions between the various components of the Opposition. But we (France) support, nevertheless, the (Turkey-based, controversial) NCS, because we think that a solution is needed, which would not be similar to the non-solution of Iraq, so that the Institutions (of the Syrian State, mainly the Army) can contine to exist. Otherwise, they risk to implose, and push us all back to the previously examined situation, i.e. that which could be dominated by extremists, provoking Chaos.  


"In this regard, what is needed is  Humanitarian and Political efforts, at a level that we haven't reached yet, and, from another side, is raised the question of the Arms' embargo, that EU a.o. maintain, while others don't always, including f.ex. Iran, Russia and other Countries. So, the UK and France have raised this issue, which is due to be discussed at the end of May", he pointed out.


In fact, there arguments both for and against the Arms Embargo. In favor of lifting it, is obviously the fact that, otherwise, the Dictator (Bashar Assad) would continue to provoke massacres. As for the Opposition, its Majority is more or less "Moderate", but, there are also Extremists who risk to take over, particularly if things don't change", Fabius found out. However, there is also the problem that, if Arms arrive at Syria, they might be usurpated by Extremists. So, it's all that that we (EU) have to examine on May", Fabious had anounced from the start.


- But, as things stand today, Fabius expressed, earlier in conclusion, his "great Concern", "because there is no good solution", as he said, "since all existing alternatives present serious Dangers", (comp. Supra), and there is currently no "Deus ex machina" who might offer, suddenly, out of the blue, a satisfactory solution" in the current situation, in which "I don't have yet a ready-made solution", he acknowledged.
However, "this doesn't mean that nobody shouldn't do anything to try to find a solution, but, on the contrary, that all should mobilize their energies in order to help definitevelt stop that on-going bloody conflict, and, in this regard, "I wish that the EU does its best", Fabius concluded
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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

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- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

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      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
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ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
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    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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